I moved to Wisconsin about a year ago. Given time constraint, so far I found no suitable container to carry water or coffee around with me outside. I found that a flask is classy and convenient. But I am not sure if drinking something out of a flask would get me into some trouble, especially a legal one?

  • Lifehacks.SE isn't really intended for giving legal advice. A quick call to your local law enforcement or District Attorney's office will answer your question once and for all, no lifehacks needed.
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Oct 25, 2018 at 11:18

3 Answers 3


If by flask, you mean a hip flask- an iconic representation of a character who drinks alcohol to excess/at inappropriate times:

Hip flask

Then sure, drinking from one in public is fairly obviously going to put a target on your back, just as carrying a pair of bolt cutters and wearing a balaclava might. "I get head colds officer, and I work in a factory cutting chains to length" might be the truth, but it's not a good look for a peaceful life

There are other vessels you can drink from in public that will arouse much less attention:

  • a vacuum flask - good for keeping anything hot or cold that way, typically used for hot drinks
  • a sports bottle - typically more often seen held by a young or casually/sports clothing dressed person. If you're a flat-cap-and-glasses type who shaves irregularly you might be better off with something else
  • a sigg bottle - a non insulating screw cap bottle, often branded. Probably the closest thing to a hip flask in terms of functionality and physical properties, without being the shape that leads to assumptions
  • a branded reusable coffee cup with lid - like what Starbucks gives you but not disposable
  • a travel mug - an insulated cup usually with handle and some sort of sealable lid, narrow base for fitting into a car cup holder and a widening neck for additional liquid volume
  • a disposable plastic water bottle - no one says you can't reuse them, and they sometimes come with a convenient pop up/down sports cap but they tend to shrink if you pour boiling water into them..

"If it looks right, it is right" - not many cops are going to sit down next to you on a park bench and ask what you're drinking on a cold winter's day if it's a steaming brown liquid coming out of a steel vac flask. Unless it smells like it's 50% brandy, of course :)

  • 1
    Thanks a lot, Caius. By the way, it looks like even a hypothetical question about that issue along draws negative unwanted attention :D. This is interesting.
    – Yes
    Oct 27, 2018 at 3:57

I don't think there's a uniform answer for that. Because the rules and regulations change from place to place. And no one should have any problems as long as the fluid you are carrying is non-alcoholic. But I recommend asking this question to some local citizen of that place.


Regardless of what the law says, you may frequently get questioned by law enforcement officers who see you drinking from a flask. Every time you will have to explain and probably prove that it is not alcohol. It would be like drinking water from a vodka bottle; even though you aren't breaking any laws, you will draw the attention of both cops and civilians (who may report you to the cops).

  • Thanks! If you are a local citizen, I would also like to ask if people here more easily feel offended by seeing people non blatantly doing that?
    – Yes
    Oct 26, 2018 at 2:57
  • @GaryMoore Unfortunately I have't seen someone drinking from a flask in public, so I don't know how I'd react. Plus I'm a scaredy-cat; I probably wouldn't report someone for fear of retaliation! (For what it's worth, I live in Raleigh, NC and moved recently from Los Angeles, CA. In Los Angeles, in a busy subway station, I saw someone snort coke and didn't report them.) Oct 26, 2018 at 19:10

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